Songwriting Challenge – 52 Songs, 52 Weeks

I’ve decided to do a songwriting challenge. Why would I do such a thing?


I love missions.


Since doing the artist’s way, I’ve gotten somewhat hooked on the feeling of growth and measuring progress, and more to the point, it seems to work for me. As I was coming to the end of the 90 day post-course agreement I was considering what to do next. I hadn’t managed to meet all of my targets and personal goals and was frankly a little worn out with everything.


During the last 6 months, I did not get as much songwriting done as I had either intended to or hoped for and thought that this should be top of my priorities. Incidentally, I spotted several mentions of people who were doing them and how it is a way of forcing yourself to learn and grow a lot in a relatively short space of time. What could be better?


I’ve tried doing songwriting challenges before, one not even that long ago. But none of them went well. The last one I tried for instance was 30 songs in 30 days – one per day. I was setting myself up for failure. Firstly real life and work etc do not allow one with that luxury everyday (at least not me,) and even when they did I often ended up writing throwaway stuff that was slight in all areas. The time frame was way to narrow considering I have certain songs of mine that have taken a year to write, another took about 2 years from start to finish.

Secondly, I was starting from scratch each time, which was silly considering how much raw material I already have stashed away, and what a backlog I have of started pieces to work from. So it did not last more than 3-4 days before I kicked that one in the head.


This time I thought I might research other challenges that other people have done, and make my mind up after I’d researched it. But nothing was happening that way, and I still haven’t researched them that thoroughly. Instead I realised that I just need to start doing it, and everything will sort itself out as I go along, as and when needed.


So, starting the week of Sunday 12th February 2012 I’ve started a new challenge. For the next 52 weeks I will be setting myself the target of finishing one song per week. I knew it was the right thing to do when the prospect of it filled me with raw excitement and fear.


Luckily, I have lots of work to choose from. If I finish exactly 52 songs, I’ll still have many unfinished pieces, scraps, and ideas to work through. I’ve often heard artists say how they always feel that they are playing ‘catch-up’ with themselves, and always lagging behind. I don’t doubt that for a moment or think it is a different feeling for anyone. It gives me hope and encouragement in fact as there is always something to do.


I can’t wait.


The Guidelines of my challenge are as follows:

–          Complete one song by the end of each week.


–          Each completed song should be demoed in some rough manner – ie voice and accompaniment on guitar, bass, keys or whatever, even acappella, full arrangement or a live band take, so long as the song is documented being played from beginning to end.


–          The songs can be anything at all as long as I have learned something by doing them.


–          One pavlovian reward to be used the next week after each week completing a song, for each completed piece.


–          I should, and will, look for challenges from old ideas, other songwriters and other challenges


–          Stay inspired and invigorated by researching the subject and investigating, by allowing a constant stream of good music, reading, and exercise.


–          Nothing should stop me from writing and pursuing my art and using this quest as a means or source of self-discovery, learning, enlightenment, meditation, prayer, self-therapy, sharing, spreading love, and giving thanks to creation for the spot I’ve been allowed to hold in it.


I’ll let you know how it goes.





3 Responses to “Songwriting Challenge – 52 Songs, 52 Weeks”

  1. This sounds great man…maybe post them each week so that way you enter a contract with us all? Might keep you on track and not slip…I know that’s why I promote my stories from one month to the next. If everyone knows you said you were gonna do something, you damn well do it! Have fun!

  2. Hey John, thanks.

    I had thought of posting up the demos here or elsewhere, but there’s a part of me that is not 100% behind that idea. It would feel a bit like letting a 5 year old kid fend for themselves, instead of providing the love, care, food, clothing and education that one gives a song by going through the proper process of arranging and presenting it properly in recorded form.

    There is also the fact that no matter how much work I put into a song when I think it is ‘finished’, I know there is a good chance something will still get changed later.

    So, not yet. Maybe later I will post somethings up in some form.

    I agree with the idea of incentive, but right now I’m finding just the fact of either finishing the song or not is enough. You’re going to just have to take my word for what I’m doing.

    Or come to one of my shows. I’m bound to play some of the newer stuff there. 😉

  3. A song a week is very doable even if you only spend about 20 minutes a day. If you break the song down into sections, by the end of the week you could have it wrapped up. Good luck, man!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: